Being both an avid backlinker and the owner of various websites that are listed directories, the experience gained in both the “murky” world of the submitter and the “ever so secret” world of an editor allows me to bring a rather unique and beneficial perspective to directory submissions.
With these few submission tips, you will easily get more approvals and see how powerfully directory submissions help your site gain website visitors.
(*The Most Powerful & Relevant Directories on The Internet listed at the end of this article)
Perhaps the most important submission tip is to only submit to quality directories. Here are a few tips for determining if a directory is a quality one that you want associated with your site…
*Look for quality listings in the directory, and especially in the category where you want your listing.
*Look for a decent number of categories. You want your listing in a category that’s fairly specific to your niche.
*If the directory shows the number of “pending links” or listings, check the number. If it’s very large, then there is a big backlog of listings waiting for approval. It’s possible the directory owner will bulk approve them. Google and the other engines are now viewing some directories as link farms because of this bulk approval process.
*Also look at the number of “active links” or listings. A very large number is likely an indication that the directory owner is bulk approving submissions.
Optimize Your Directory Submissions
Directories form a simple way of obtaining one-way links to your website. Due to its supposed simplicity, some webmasters don’t give their submissions the care and attention that they should. Whilst in some cases their sites may be approved, the link will not be working as hard for and giving as much benefit as it could to their site. The following guide will show you how to:
1. Write an effective title and description.
2. Explain why categorization is all important.
3. Discuss how to vary submissions.
4. Provide additional resources.
Write an Effective Title and Description
Your directory backlink is just the same as any other backlink, and the same 3 main factors are always used to evaluate the importance of your backlink as well as the overall benefit when the Search Engines find it and index it.
Namely… 1) the website page that your backlink is placed, 2) the link text, and lastly 3) the page to which the link points to(your site). These three factors are not something that you will be looking to change. This is because you’ve already built your website around specific keywords and you have researched and properly optimized your web pages around your keywords.
The link text is the absolute most important part of a successful directory submission and where the search engines will attach the most importance. Completing the title field is where you should take the proper amount of time and effort to include your main keyword or even two if you choose. Let’s use a random site like madrid-spain.com as an example:
We’ll say that the site’s main keywords are: madrid spain, madrid, guide.
Examples of good submitted title texts:
* Spain’s vibrant Madrid guide
* See Madrid Spain guided by a native
* Madrid Spain a capital guide
* Your Madrid guide
Each one of the above sample titles gives additional benefit when the Search Engines read the link as they reinforce the keywords that they find on your website. On the other hand, the following examples of titles are both “sales” and “spammy,” all the while not having the same keyword benefits:
* All about Madrid with our handy guide for visitors to the city
* Madrid is brilliant
* Madrid’s greatest and best guide ever
* Discover Madrid with the best!
In these titles, the keywords are separated by additional text, include sales language and/or are too long. This dilutes the importance of each keyword. Remember, a directory is not for sales. It’s more of an indexing system so sales language is not desired.
Directory website owners do not want their website’s filled with phrases such as “best,” “greatest,” “number one,” etc. because they rely on long tail keyword searches and obscure word combos to generate organic traffic from Google and the other search engines.
Your description should reflect the title and be similar to your website’s content. Do not include a list of keywords and do not repeat keywords. For each keyword or keyword phrase, use a separate sentence. Again, do not include promotional language. For example:
“Madrid is Spain’s capital city and a popular business and leisure destination. This free online guide offers detailed information on the city’s major attractions as well as practical advice for those visiting it for the first time.”
From the point of view of a directory owners, the longer the description the better as this gives more content to be found with in their pursuit of search engine traffic.
* Include your main keyword in the title.
* Keep the title to less than 75 characters, 50 or less is better.
* Write an honest description of at least 200 characters.
* Include promotional language.
* Submit a list of keywords as the description.
* Break up keyword phrases.
Categorization Is All-important!!!
A lot of people talk about directories and their relative value in terms of the directories PR(page rank) on the homepage. While this can be an important factor when looking to buy links on homepages, in 99 out of 100 cases, your backlink won’t be appearing on the homepage. As we said earlier one of the things the SE spiders evaluate is the page the link is on and we also said you can control this.
Directories are, in general, built on three or more tiers. Some of the bigger directories (eg., DMOZ) can have up to 12 tiers. Naturally if the homepage is a PR3 by the time you get down to the fourth tier, it probably doesn’t have any PageRank and it’s for this reason that unless you are buying homepage links the PR of the directory isn’t that important. What is however far more important is the page on which your link will appear.
Taking the example of the Madrid website, the site has been optimized for a series of keywords, the link is optimized for this keyword and the description has been written around these keywords. Therefore its only natural that the link should be submitted to a page written around the same keywords.
Assuming that the Tier 4 page is about City Breaks and the Tier 5 page about Madrid and both pages have zero PR then the keyword benefits of appearing on a related Tier 5 page outweigh the Tier 4 page.
Now assuming that the tier 4 page is about Spain and the Tier 5 page about Madrid and both pages have zero PR then in this case the Tier 4 page is better as it is about one of the keywords if not the main one. Here there is a risk though as directory owners normally insist that sites applying for free links apply to the lowest category possible.
Although a judgement call I would be inclined to err on the side of caution and submit to the Madrid page instead of the Spain page as it would be better to have one link than none at all!
Free links directory owners are disgusted at even the THOUGHT of taking the time to move sites to their correct category so get it right for them and you’ll be far more likely to be approved. As an illustration of the work of a directory owner a PR0 free directory will receive approximately a hundred submissions each day. The higher the PR the more submissions it will receive.
* Evaluate the categories for the greatest keyword communality with your site.
* Submit to the category that best suits your site.
* Blindly follow the PR of a directory’s homepage as 9 times out of 10 internal pages don’t have PR.
Varying your submissions gives you a far greater chance of being accepted into directories. As I said earlier directories want more and more content for greater long tail searches from the Search Engines. Many directory owners don’t just own one directory but normally have many more.
There are some that run over a hundred directories but these are the exception rather than the rule. However with multiple directories under the control of the same person this person isn’t going to want to see the same site requesting a free backlink with the same title and description from five different directories at the same time.
Your site may be approved in the 1st, 2nd and maybe even the third directory but pretty soon alarm bells will be ringing and the rest of the time invested in submitting to the remaining directories will be lost.
Apart from the obvious problem with the directory owners, search engine robots will greatly devalue a backlink if they find it always has the same text and description around it. Now imagine a page in directory about Madrid that has 10 links all submitted by their webmasters and all using the same title and description that the webmasters used for every other submission.
The search engines are going to see that page as being duplicate content and penalize it and maybe the whole directory. With some of the better directories, you’ll actually find that your description has been edited slightly before being approved. This is actually a good thing and causes you to benefit more rather than less.
Our advice to circumvent these problems is to come up with five or six different titles and descriptions each time you do a directory submission campaign. For example, every 500 directories. By changing and varying the descriptions and titles you use, there is both a far greater chance of acceptance and a far greater chance of the search engines seeing your backlink as being genuine and not duplicate content. This also applies equally to link trades and exchanges you do.
* Use multiple descriptions and titles.
* Vary the combination of descriptions and titles
* Submit the same title and description over and over again.
*The Most Powerful & Relevant Directories on The Internet List*
These first 4 web directories are the crème de la crème, a single approval and backlink from these juggernauts can mean the difference between no visitors and tons of visitors pouring in. They are the most respected by Google and by everyone on the web. They aren’t easy to get into if you don’t take your directory submission very serious and have a quality website.
If your site isn’t really good, work on improving it first. If your website is good and you can afford to submit it, do it because one link from them is MAJOR. It’s that simple.
- BOTW – is a human edited directory. They are of the highest quality & will deny your listing if the site sucks. A submission is $150 annually or $300 for a permanent listing. A single link from them is worth MORE than it’s weight in gold.
- DMOZ – It’s hard but still possible to get a listing in the ever-frustrating DMOZ. For the 15 minutes it takes, it’s totally worth it and it’s free to take a shot at it. These links carry a lot of weight too.
- Yahoo! Directory – This highly trusted directed directory has been around since 1994 and is also one of the major players behind BOTW & DMOZ. The charge is a non-refundable $299 review fee. (You see why you need to know how to properly submit now? Lol)
- Business.com - This directory is powerful and more niche, it caters to business-to-business resources (so have that in mind when considering submitting your website. The price is $299 annually and every submission is reviewed manually by human eyes. As with BOTW & Yahoo, the fee is non-refundable if you don’t get accepted. The review is what you are shelling out for, not the backlink.
OK so those above are the big boys, the powerhouses. But there are still a bunch of quality general directories. These particular directories have all stayed strong through many Panda and Penguin updates.
Keep in mind though, backlink building is about being balanced. Don’t just submit to a ton of directories and think you’re done. Be smart about it, bookmark this page, submit to a couple now and while you are building more backlinks using different strategies, come back later and grab a few more to submit to. Natural backlinks come in variety, nearly ALWAYS.
Anywhere, check out these 2-tier directories that are worth your time and money as well….
- Jayde – Submission is free.
- Ezilon – $69 per year of $199 permanent.
- Alive – $75 per year or $225 permanent.
- 01 Web Directory – Free submission option or $49 one-time for a guaranteed 3-day response time.
- Aviva – $50 per year or $150 permanent.
- Wow Directory – $43 for a permanent listing.’
- GoGuides – $69 permanent listing.
- SunStream – $29 per year or $49 permanent.
Have at it guys and gals, I wish you all the web success in the world.
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